Tree-killing pine beetle has reached Connectcicut, is headed north

Southern Pine Beetle was thought to be unable to survive New England winters

HAMDEN, Conn. (AP) — State foresters are cutting down pine trees to hold back an invasive beetle that threatens the state’s decimated stocks of pitch pine.

The Republican-American reports that the tiny Southern pine beetle, which is about the size of a pencil-tip, was found in Connecticut for the first time this spring and has been identified in various central Connecticut towns.

The beetle feeds and nests in hard pine trees imported into Connecticut for timber or landscaping.

The once-plentiful pitch pine is of greatest concern because it’s an important habitat for species that have struggled with the tree’s decline.

Claire Rutledge, an entomologist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experimental Station, says the insect is not supposed to be able to handle harsh New England winters, but has gradually been working its way north.

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